Hopes new hospital diagnostic centre could cut cancer waiting times

How the new NNUH Diagnostic Assessment Centre could look and South Norfolk Council councillor Daniel Elmer

How the new NNUH Diagnostic Assessment Centre could look and South Norfolk Council councillor Daniel Elmer, who supports the plans - Credit: NNUH/Norfolk County Council

A dedicated base to scan for health conditions including cancer could open within the next two years if plans are given the go-ahead.

A reserved matters application for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) Diagnostic Assessment Centre next to the Norwich Research Park has been put forward by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to South Norfolk Council.

Outline planning permission was granted in 2013 and if approved the two-storey building would be built on a 1.87 hectare plot west of the Quadram Institute in Rosalind Franklin Road.

It is being funded as part of a £69.7m government package, which will pay for similar centres at Gorleston’s James Paget University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, all expected to open by March 2024.

Simon Hackwell, NNUH director of strategy and major projects

Simon Hackwell, NNUH director of strategy and major projects - Credit: NNUH

Simon Hackwell, NNUH director of strategy and major projects, said: “The centres would provide capacity to support patients and healthcare staff in the rapid diagnosis of disease, with a view to reducing waiting list, including cancer diagnosis.”

Daniel Elmer and William Kemp, who represent Colney and the Conservatives on South Norfolk Council, said: "'We are delighted to see the next stage of this project come forward. The new centre will aid the rapid diagnosis of cancer and save lives.

"This is a major boost for the health of our county and will develop local centres of excellence at the hospital, university, and research park, creating opportunities to develop cancer specialists."

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The centre would include two x-ray and ultrasound machines, five MRI and four CT scanners, staff rooms, offices,  a cafe, 12 patient drop off spaces and one parking space for a patient transport vehicle.

The design and access statement said: "The demand for imaging has significantly increased during the Covid-19 pandemic following the pause of many imaging appointments to deal with the immediate threat of the pandemic. This has exacerbated the demand stream for diagnostics, particularly for cancer patients.

"The DAC’s purpose is to provide imaging capacity to support diagnosis of disease as well as
helping to further address growing waiting lists. This model seeks to provide facilities in a stand-alone building to minimise risk to service impact in future endemics or pandemics."